Deer Trap

Published 10 years, 2 months ago

As we drove from preschool to dance class, a gentle snowfall blurred the more distant houses and cars like a thin fog.  Jack Johnson was quietly serenading us when up ahead, without warning, two white-tailed deer appeared from a treeline on the right and darted into the street, their hooves skidding slightly on the slick pavement.

“Oh, look, sweetie!  Do you see the deer?”

“Deer!? Where?” I could hear her leaning out of her booster seat to peer through the front windshield.  Within moments, the does made it off the pavement and bounded across the half-shoveled sidewalk to vanish into the subdivision.  Brake lights winked off and cars sped up to reclaim the precious, precious seconds lost to this sudden intrusion of nature into late-afternoon suburban routines.

“Did you see them?”

“Yeah”, she said distantly, still craning to look.  “Where did they go, Daddy?”

“They ran between those two houses”, I said, gesturing toward the driver’s side window as we passed the spot.

“Do they live there in those houses?”

“No, sweetie, deer live in the woods.”

“Then what are they doing in between the houses?”

“They’re probably looking for food in people’s yards.”

Silence fell for a moment.  I spared a half-glance toward the back seat and caught a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision, a half-formed vision of intense concentration.  In my head, I quickly ran through everything I knew about deer from my years of rural living, preparing for the expected questions about what deer eat and when they sleep and where their houses were.

“Daddy?”

“Yes?”

“Why did the deer cross the road?”


  1. haha, that one cracked me up a but :)

  2. “To get to the other side!”

    [ Ba-dum-bum ]

    My oldest daughter is 3 1/2 now and I love these kind of moments. I make a point never to say “I can’t wait until she’s old enough to ___” because you never get this time again. I can definitely wait.

  3. Much, much, much too obvious, Jim. But I will admit it took me a good ten seconds to construct a good answer that wasn’t the obvious one.

  4. Lovely. To my now teenage daughters, the replaying of these kind of stories, often from long passed roadtrips, are more precious than old photos, videos, or craftwork. “Dad tell me again when I said…” Don’t forget them.

  5. Nice.

    This thread reminds me: as the parent of a 3-year-old-girl myself, I love to share with other parents how awesome Twitter has been as a tool for documenting the hilarious things kids say. My wife stays at home, so she just keeps a browser tab open that’s signed into my daughter’s (non-public) Twitter account. She types in the most memorable quotes just a few minutes after they’re uttered, so they can be remembered verbatim. Then, via Twitterific, I get to “hear” them throughout my working day. It rocks.

  6. OK, the deer crossed the road because it was the chicken’s day off.

    Let’s not romanticize the deer. In the words of John McPhee, Deer are just “rats with antlers”.

  7. My daughter is about to turn 9 and moments like the one above have been replaced with the monotony of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers.

    Both the kids had there moments though.

    Enjoy it while you can Eric!

  8. He crossed the road to poop in my back yard. (I almost got a photo of this last week!)

  9. As someone who grew up in a heavily wooded area of north-central Ohio, Peter, I disagree with you and Mr. McPhee.

    Not to worry, Mike: I do.

  10. Priceless!!!

    Rob, great Twitter idea.

  11. Made me smile! Thank you.

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